Tuesday, March 18

50th Birthday Magazine Covers

The birthday embarrassment continues. What goes better with turning 50 than AARP? So I put him on the cover of the magazine. All of the cover lines are personal to him so they won't mean much to you, but the reference on the lower left is talking about that commercial where the camel asks Mike what day it is. He gets that every Wednesday. LOL


And, since he's been in the music industry in one form or another (and even though he's far removed from it now), its in his roots so I made a cover of Rolling Stone magazine.



I grabbed the vector logo from the web and plopped in words relevant to his life in the style of the magazine.

Happy Birthday, honey!

My Man's Big 50! (poster/card)

My hubby's 50th birthday is coming up and he wants.... nothing! No party, no trip, no presents. "Don't spend any money," he says. Ugh.What to do? So I'm going to barrage him with posters. What else is a designer to do to make his day special?

Here is his birthday year in review:
I looked up all the info (thank you, Google!) and pulled out the ones that were relevant to his life. I'm going to use this as the cover of his bday card. Since he doesn't want a party, I'm going to send it around electronically and have people 'sign' it. Hope I can pull that off!

Tuesday, February 11

Minecraft Valentines

It's been a Minecraft kind if year. I found these Minecraft figurines at Five Below and picked some up for my son. But how to make it Valentine-y? 

So I made a box to nestle the character in and put a message on the cover, "you BUTTER be my Valentine" (butter is what they call the gold bars).

I think he's gonna love it! 





Friday, December 20

What's Baking?

I have my staples that I make over the holidays. This year, I'm adding a few new things that I've come across.

Chocolate Chunk cookies
I've tried a lot of different "the best" chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years, from traditional to fancy ones like the Jacque Torres gourmet ones. For the texture and taste that I prefer, the Best recipe for me is still Nestle Tollhouse. Thats probably why it took Monica all those tries to get exactly the right one on that famous episode of Friends. 

You can find it on the back of every bag of Nestle Chocolate chips and its also available online. Here is a link for the recipe. I like the artisan look of the chocolate chunks rather than the uniform, traditional look of the chips, so I use those. Just throw in the entire bag. Why have 12 chunks left over? ;)

While I was looking for the link to share, I realized that it was really hard to find, first you have to go through their corporate site, then do a bunch of selections and pull downs. So to make it easier, I've also included a link to their recipe site as a whole. 


Pecan Pie Bars
From the checkout, I impulse bought a holiday baking magazine from Better Homes and Gardens, in it, I found this Pecan Pie Bar recipe. It was sooo incredibly easy and virtually mess free. I don't personally like pecan pie but my Sweet-toothed sister and my hubby love it so I thought I'd try it out. I wonder how well it ships?

It looked so pretty in the pan, I had to shoot a pic of it. It has to cool for awhile and I'm impatient so I'm posting this straight from the pan. I wish you could smell this!


After lunch I cut them and put them in the stand. Of course I had to try one. It was actually good. It was extremely sweet but not overly so and the crust balanced it well. 

Here is a link to the recipe directly from their site: Pecan Pie Bars

Sunday, November 24

Minecrafty

I decided to further fuel my son's addiction to Minecraft by making him a creeper pillow. For those of you who done know a kid who has been sucked into this, skip this post. Lol. 

I plan on doing a tutorial but until I get that together... Here is the finished product. 


Sunday, November 18

Lychee Martini

I love Halloween and along with all the decorations, appetizers and treats I came up with, I wanted to make a fun spooky cocktail.

It may be Fall but I concocted a refreshing Summer-perfect bevvie that was just as good as our signature Halloween cocktail - I named it Human Eye-ball Juice to be themed for our Halloween gathering. I got lots of raves but fair warning... it sneaks up on you! Here is the recipe - sans photo.

Lychee Nut Martini Cocktail (aka Human Eye-ball Juice)

One can of Lychee Nuts, including the liquid (available at Asian Markets)
2 cups simple syrup (recipe follows)
1-2 cups of vodka

Ice - if desired

In a pitcher mix the simple syrup with the vodka (at this point, I have to recommend Rain vodka - its little known and very smooth). I use more simple syrup and more vodka because I like to add ice and it dilutes it all. Pour in the entire can. Voila  - that's it.

Scoop out a lychee fruit to garnish each glass and add a sprig of mint if you like.


Simple Syrup
Bring equal parts sugar and water to boil until sugar dissolves. Once it cools, you can use it in your cocktail.

Thursday, September 6

First Day of First Grade




I made a similar poster last year and wasn't sure I'd remember to do it again this year - so I'm glad I followed through. It was fun to see the comparison even from just a year ago. I hope my son will enjoy looking back on these in the coming years.

I changed a few minor things because they will be the same year to year.


First Grade Stats copy


Sunday, August 19

Summer Camp Tip gift 2012

I'm trying something new - for me- posting from my phone. I hope it works. Unfortunately, I don't think I can link to anything.

And Now for my post:

Camp is over for the Summer - which makes me sad because now we have 2 1/2 weeks to find something to do with our son. Ugh!

Here are the camp tip 'gifts' I gave out this year: Blow guns with foam darts from the dollar store with a related message (borrowed from a lollipop post on Pinterest).

I also made matching cards to hold the $$ with a sign that said, "Blow THIS however you like."

Easy peasy and cheap, too!

Tuesday, May 22

Cupcake Frenzy

On a whim, I decided to bake cupcakes and play around with some ingredients. I went straight for the liquor cabinet. Why not? I made several variations using a yellow cake box mix - Pillsbury (my  brand of choice because the cake is fluffy, not too sweet and bakes perfectly moist every time).

I started with a Kalua infused cupcake where I poured a non-specific amount of the coffee liquor into the batter. Then I made the chocolate frosting from the back of the Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder box and - you guessed it - added some Kalua to it. After generously frosting the cupcakes, I dusted the top with cocoa powder. They looked really pretty but none lasted long enough for me to photograph them.

Then I made PB&J cupcakes and the chocolate frosting from above. Surprisingly, these were pretty good as well. I bake-lifted the idea from the Picky Palate website where she had made these bars that were yummy. These went as well. No photo.

The ones I did manage to stage and shoot were my Amaretto cupcakes. I poured an unspecified amount into the batter, baked per the box recipe, then made a frosting that I concocted. I did a whipped cream frosting folded into whipped butter with a touch of Amaretto. My thinking was that this would make the whipped frosting a bit stiffer. The taste was good but I should have chilled it again before piping it on the cupcakes because the consistency looked a bit funky. I crushed shelled pistachios and sprinkled them on top. These were quite dee-lish. I may try it again with a heartier frosting like cream cheese.

Here is my photo below

Ameretto cupcakes

Friday, May 18

Store bought cake

This year, we ended up celebrating my son's birthday several times. There was the school party (see the Pikachu cupcakes), his real party, and his first sleepover. So we didn't want to overdo another celebration. We had a few of the kids in the neighborhood over for cake and a short, mid-week playdate. I bought a store bought cake and went to the dollar store and got these cute ninjas. Check it out... it really made it look personalized with very little effort. So don't let the fear of baking stop you from doing something fun - and different for your next gathering. The dollar store has lots of ways to spruce up a grocery store confection.


Ninja Cake 2 and here is another view Ninja Cake

Monday, April 23

Cupcakes - Pikachu

These are cupcakes I made of Pikachu (one of the characters in Pokemon - a show on the Cartoon Network). My nephews were obsessed with Pokemon (12 years ago) and my son got that gene passed down to him. I made these for this 6th birthday party at school . This photo is only half the batch because I ran out of those gummy candies that I used for the ears.

DSCN1886

DSCN1884
When I decided to make these, it was late, I was tired, it was raining hard outside and I had no cake mix. So, after going out to buy the mix, you can imagine I didn't think it through very well. The cake and face were simple. I used yellow frosting and black Wilton pre-made icing. For the rosy cheeks, I used M&M's.

The ears were the challenge. Since it was so late, I wanted to just use stuff we had in the house.  I tried: cutting graham crackers (too crumbly), cut corners of Madeline cookies (too soft), Gold fish (these actually worked but I didn't want to ice them, and they felt too small), and cut corners of marshmallows (these worked but, again, I didn't want to ice them to make them yellow.

Nothing I had at home actually worked. So I gave up, went to the store tonight and bought those gummy, sugar-coated wedge candies. The problem is, I needed 30 cupcakes and the box only had about 18 yellow wedges. So, I guess I have to go back to the store in a little while. 

The look on my son's face as the yellow cupcakes took shape into Pikachu was priceless and make it all worth the effort. 

Sunday, March 25

Holiday Cookie Packages

For years, my aunt and uncle hosted all the family gatherings. Their home was centrally located for all of us and it was the largest place - which was needed to hold the up to 50 people that would often gather. Their home, though, was a Chinese laundromat in an increasingly deteriorating neighborhood. They lived on the second floor and kept a large apartment on the third floor that used to be rented out. They'd built their lives there for over 50 years, and even though the area and elements worsened, they kept the extended family close. This year, they finally sold the business, the building and closed up shop. They are in their mid-nineties. Yes, they worked up until they closed.   

Now that the laundry is gone, its harder and harder to get together with my cousins. Where we used to visit each other at the laundry once a month, it wasn't until Christmas that we were all able to hook up.

After much schedule organizing, we met at a local restaurant. I was excited to see everyone even if it was just a few hours and I made some cookies for each family and packaged them, personalizing the labels and the contents for everyone. 

I made a ton of cookies over the holidays, probably around 15 dozen and 8 different kinds. Here are a few that  I packaged up:
Shortbread, chocolate bar cookies, glazed oatmeal, powdered sugar greek balls.

Recipes: Shortbread are Martha Stewart. I got them from the ipad app. Greek Balls (see previous post). The others, I will try to come back and post either links or resources one day. :) 

 Cookies

Of course, I snuck a few samples for myself. Yum. Cookies2

For the packaging, I admit, I cheated a bit. My mom has a restaurant in Myrtle Beach, SC, and I got these cool kraft take out boxes from her restaurant supplier. I made the labels and Xyroned them on. I used a corner rounder cutter from Michael's to give the labels a more finished look.
The kraft bags are wax lined bakery bags from Uline. I also made the gift card holders for the teens/tweens with an iTunes gift card and their initials cut out of the back.
CookiePackages2012

Holiday Gift Card Holder

The not-so-recent chain of events which resulted in my losing all the scrapbook pages I'd created for 2011 and some of 2010 also made me lose some of the photos. I have also been less than organized with the photos I've taken since then. So, I'm not surprised that I just discovered photos of the gift card holder I made for my son's teacher and the teaching assistant.

I used red card stock and printed a patterned insert using some of the scrapbooking stash I managed to find. I think it was from MScraps but I don't remember.:(  Then I typed in the teacher's name and cut out the gift card pattern using my Silhouette cutting machine.

Pattern available at Silhouette's website. 


FRONT
(this sample uses left over giftwrapping paper)
Card_Outside

BACK
card_inside

Monday, February 20

Outdoor Movie Party

I can't believe that I never posted my son's 5th birthday party. It was really fun... from start to finish, beginning with the invitations I hand made. I personalized the envelopes with each child's name and invited the whole family on the inside.I want to credit the paper and template designers but my laptop fried a few months ago and I lost all my stash and all my photos. :( 
I'm pretty sure the papers were from MScraps and the template was from Simply J Studios at ScrapMatters.

Here are the invitation 'ticket', envelope and a close-up of the insert.

DSC00534a
sjs_Movie Under the Stars copy And here are some shots of the actual night. The kids all came in their jammies with their blankets and chairs or sleeping bags. We had a Pikachu pinata filled with toys and candy. Each kid had their own bag to fill up - and all the bags were full!

 




Each kid had their own bag to fill up - and all the bags were full!

Each kid got a few flashlight rings (a huge hit!) and glow braclets



We served Pizzas and had two cakes with Ben 10 decoration on them.

For the main feature, we set up a large canvas and projected the movie Astro Boy.

Tuesday, February 14

Valentines Crafts from Michael's

Happy Valentine's Day!

I got an email from Micheal's crafts and saw this fun project that I had to do with my DS. I modified it a bit. Instead of buying their pre-made foam hands, my son traced out his hands and we cut them out of foam sheets.  The project 'spelled' out the letters I and U and I love you in sign language. Then I strung them together on a piece of transparent red ribbon and taped it to the bathroom mirror so that my husband would see it when he went in there. Thank you, Michaels. :)

We're going to do something similar for my FIL for his birthday card. My DS had so much fun making these. 


I_Love_You

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